In 2003 they were testing three operating systems. One was XP service pack two, one was Vista, the other was seven. They decided to go with service pack two instead of seven. Later when they decided to replace XP they liked Vista, because it did less than seven. They realised later that they should have went with seven instead of Vista. We could have went with a rawer less polished version of seven in 2003. Instead of having it in 2007. We would be having right now what we will have in 2024.
Ok now I said what Microsoft admited to. What you are saying about we can't have seven without eight I also have to drive agree with. What happens under the hood part still is probably true. What I'm talking about is interface. Some of what is in ten is fixing crapping the desktop, not really improvements. They wasted time remaking the desktop. Time never spent if they would have never destroyed the desktop in the first place. If we did it my way windows ten would be about the same under the hood. Just without all these bugs windows keep coming out with, but the interface for the desktop would be light-years ahead right now, because I would never have to try to combine the tablet, smartphones, and the computer.
Now as far as eight goes. In referencing to how technology works most inventions are based by what was solved when it's being used, not thought of. If they would not have tried to combine the computer and the smartphone with eight. Windows ten would be more desktop oriented right now than it is. Now even with the desktop being better than what it is now. There would still have been other bugs that would still have popped up.
My point is I would disagree that we couldn't have ten without eight. It would be better right now if eight didn't try to destroy the desktop, and for a freebie we didn't have to have Vista to have seven. Seven could have came out in 2003 also